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Alumni Panel Discussion: Technology and Creativity

2:00pm-4:00pm – William M. Lowman Concert Hall


Angelina Burnett ‘96, Theatre

Angelina Burnett is a television writer/producer and a community organizer. Currently, she is writing a film about the friendship between Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn for Lifetime, shooting this winter. Formerly, she was a Co-Executive Producer on AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, having also written for NatGeo’s Genius, NBC’s Hannibal, FX’s The Americans, and Starz’s Boss, among others. She was on staff of the 2008 Obama campaign as the Nevada Border State Coordinator and has been organizing ever since. Angelina is a co-founder of Western Organizing Workshop, a founding board member of Dorrance Dance, and a board member of both the Writers Guild of America West, and the WGAW PAC. She lives in Venice with two of the all-time best dogs. (Well, one best dog. The other one can be a real jerk sometimes.)


Hawkeye Glenn ‘87, Visual Arts

I was raised in the pristine oak forest of the Texas savannah until the age of 9 • 1979 moved to Austin • Attended public school through 9th grade with inclusion in art enrichment classes- sponsored by UT Austin • Attended summer classes 1986 at the Camden Arts institute in London England • Attended ISOMATA 10th and 11th grade • Pursued informal education and received GED • Attended Austin Community College and studied: Latin American History, Math and English • Kayaked down the Grand Canyon • 1989 State certified EMT • Sponsored by 3M to race Luge sleds in Calgary Canada and Lake placid NY • Injured in 1991, picking pine cones for reforestation in Eastern Oregon • Attended large group workshop of choreographer/ dancer Deborah Hay • Selected to premier a dance work commissioned from Ms Hay by Michael Baryshnikov • Filed for DBA as Blacksmith 1995-2006

Clay Alexander ‘94, Theatre

Clay Alexander is an inventor and serial entrepreneur who holds over a hundred patents worldwide and is the inventor of General Electric’s LED light bulb, the GE Infusion™.

He started his first company, Radiance Lightworks, in 1999 at the age of twenty-three. Radiance has become one of the top lighting design agencies in the country, boasting an extensive client list which includes Universal Studios, Mattel, and 20th Century Fox.
Alexander formed his second company, Journée Lighting, in 2005, and created the world’s first LED track light. He scaled Journée to be one of the most respected brands in LED lighting, selling the company in 2015 to EcoSense Lighting.

In 2010, Alexander founded Ember®, a design-led temperature control brand which is creating a new category of consumer products. Since launch, Ember has been extremely well received in the market, with strong sales that have consistently outperformed forecasts, as well as extensive media coverage. Ember is blazing a path to become the next global household brand.

Clifton Alexander ‘96, Visual Arts

A mountain boy originally from Southern California, Clifton came to the Midwest to attend the esteemed Kansas City Art Institute. After working for several local agencies in creative roles, he founded REACTOR Design Studio. He has appeared on national television, been featured in countless publications, and guided the studio to more than two hundred design awards.

Clifton regularly speaks to companies and industry groups on topics ranging from branding to creativity to workplace culture. His philosophy that there’s no point in designing something unless it’s awesome permeates the soul of REACTOR and drives it to achieve better results for clients.
In 2012, Clifton was honored as a Rising Star by KC Business magazine and in 2015 REACTOR was named one of Kansas City’s top twenty-five small businesses, winning a 25 Under 25 award from Thinking Bigger Business Media.

Although he prefers the warmer and more consistent weather of SoCal, Clifton and his wife, Holly, have chosen to remain in Kansas City because of the vibrant creative community and the fact that it’s an amazing place to raise their three awesome kids!

Orpheo McCord ‘98, Music

From digging into desert grooves with Tuaregs on the rooftops of Timbuktu to all-night trance sessions with Sufi masters in the mountains of Morocco, percussionist, composer, and globetrotter Orpheo McCord has traversed a wide musical landscape over the past twenty years.  

Orpheo has been an active member of the Grammy Award-winning group Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (best known for their single, “Home,” as well as their high-energy live shows) since the group’s inception over a decade ago.

Early on his musical journey, McCord would discover a deep love for the sacred rhythms of Africa and South America. This drove him to deepen his studies in Ghana, Mali, Morocco, and Cuba.

McCord’s worldliness ensured that he made a name for himself, recording and touring as drummer for the influential post-punk English group, The Fall, as well as prolific songwriter Cass McCombs. He also performed with other luminaries such as The Flaming Lips, Ima Robot, Fool’s Gold, Tinariwen, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Brightblack Morning Light, and Harper Simon, among others.

Orpheo has also composed and contributed music to film soundtracks, including Stranger Land (Nicole Kidman), All Is Lost (Robert Redford), and Prestige Ingredients (Alia Shawkat).

Presently, Orpheo is immersed in resonant percussion and its use in creating music that calms the nervous system and allows the listener to go into a meditative state. He has developed a unique sonic palette using marimba and an array of indigenous instruments hand-selected on his travels around the world. McCord’s ever-evolving exploration of indigenous music as well as his passionate curiosity to push sonic boundaries allow him to stand out both as a musician and a composer.

McCord, who lives in Ojai with his wife and two children, has just completed his debut solo album, Recovery Inhale, released in January.

Jake Tapleshey ‘09, Creative Writing

Jake Russell Tapleshay is a Creative Writing graduate from the Class of 2009. He’s currently the Custom Content Editor at IGN. Previously he worked as a Creative Director at BuzzFeed and Production Manager of Reel Peak Films. Since leaving Idyllwild he’s lived in New York, Dublin, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. When he’s not playing video games for work he’s writing horror stories about global warming. Jake is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He was born and raised in Palm Springs and he’s never found a food that isn’t improved by hot sauce.

Mara Wilson ‘05, Theatre

Mara Wilson, known for her childhood roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, is a writer and actor living in Los Angeles. Recently, she has appeared on Welcome to Night Vale, Broad City and BoJack Horseman, and both wrote for and voiced characters in the upcoming audio drama Passenger List. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, McSweeney’s, Reductress, Cracked,, and The New York Times. She writes a weekly newsletter, Shan’t We Tell the Vicar?, available on, and her first book, Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame is available from Penguin Random House.

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